Ministry Model Committee
Denny Adams recently retired from a 37-year career as an electrical engineer with Lockheed Martin and now enjoys part-time consulting. He has been nominated to serve as a trustee of The Chapel, beginning this year.
Denny began attending The Chapel in Akron in 1974. He and his wife have been married for 44 years; they have three children and five grandchildren.
Jennifer Bennett is an attorney with over 25 years of experience in representing employers in workers’ compensation. She opened her own law firm this year. She has also spent 11 years serving on the School Board for Norton City Schools, including 4 years as Board President.
Jennifer came to The Chapel in Akron in 1998 and married her husband here a year later. They have three daughters.
Alan Bowdler has been a member of The Chapel's staff team for seven years. He is currently the Lead Pastor of The Chapel's Medina Campus, a church he planted just over a year ago, after spending several years on staff at our Wadsworth Campus as the Student Ministry Director.
Alan and his wife, Samantha, have two young children, Eli and Emma.
Caleb Callahan is the President and Chief Operating Officer of Valmark Financial Group. He is responsible for the overall business operations of the company including sales, marketing, operations and business development. He currently serves as a trustee of The Chapel.
Caleb and his wife are members of The Chapel in Wadsworth. They have three children.
Mike Castelli has spent 22 years on staff at The Chapel, serving both the Akron and Green Campuses. With prior experience as the Church Administrator, Mike has served as the Lead Pastor of The Chapel's Green Campus since 2005.
Mike and his wife, Terri, have two adult children.
Zac Derr is the Lead Pastor of The Chapel's Wadsworth Campus, and is currently serving as Interim Senior Pastor for The Chapel's network of churches. He will lead the Ministry Model Committee as Chairman.
Zac came to The Chapel in Akron in 1998 and joined our staff team in 2004. He and his wife, Hilary, have four children.
Pam Ecrement retired in July 2014 after nearly 25 years as a licensed professional clinical counselor and marriage therapist in private practice and 14 years as a public-school special education teacher.
Pam and her husband came to The Chapel in Green in late 2015. They have been married for 57 years and have two married children and six grandchildren.
Sandy Gamby currently works at Compassion International, serving the church team as a learning and development specialist. She is also a certified professional coach and is passionate about organizational health.
Sandy and her husband came to The Chapel in Akron in 1998 and now attend the Green Campus. They have three adult children.
Tim Marrero has been a member of The Chapel's staff team for just over three years. He previously served as the High School Ministry Director at our Akron Campus, and is now acting as the Interim Director of Preaching in Akron.
Jeff Martell has a cumulative 12-year history on The Chapel's staff team, with time spent at both the Akron and Green Campuses. Most recently, Jeff served as the Family and Spiritual Maturity Pastor at our Green Campus, and has now transitioned into a new role at our Akron Campus as the Director of Ministries.
Jeff and his wife, Marcia, have two children, Luke and Natalie.
Stephen Neumeyer has been a member of The Chapel's staff team for five years. He joined the team as a Pastor-in-Residence with the intent to plant a new church, and that's exactly what he did. He is now serving as the Lead Pastor of The Chapel's Cuyahoga Falls Campus.
Stephen and his wife, Melissa, have four children, Jaden, Jena, Julia, and Josiah.
Meg Pais holds a Master of Science in Organizational Development & Analysis from Case Western Reserve University. She is the Executive VP of Human Resources at SIRVA, Inc., a global relocation company. Her responsibilities include HR best practices, change management initiatives, and strategic planning.
Meg and her husband came to The Chapel in Akron in 2003.
For years, The Chapel has held to a strategy of facilitating ministry as 'one church in many locations.' Through the challenges we've navigated in recent months, the pastors and leaders of The Chapel find ourselves questioning the philosophy and wisdom behind that model. Our desire now is to evaluate the organization and structure through which we accomplish the work of the local church of Jesus Christ.
The Ministry Model Committee will evaluate the current approach to the work of organized ministry at The Chapel, highlighting the strengths and weaknesses of how our model is currently structured. They will then endeavor to determine, in accordance with what is outlined in Scripture, what might be the best and most desirable ministry model to implement moving forward, so that we might continue to accomplish the mission of the church.
The committee will consider all possible ways we might operate as an organization with multiple sites, campuses, or affiliated churches. The conversation will also include possible reasons to consider each option, as well as mapping out preliminary paths forward. They intend to seek guidance from other respected churches who have navigated complex issues like these.
At the conclusion of the evaluation phase (anticipated May-June 2022), the Ministry Model Committee will present their formal recommendations to The Chapel's Board of Trustees for consideration and a vote. A Constitution Committee will be called to recommend constitutional changes to the Board of Trustees.
All guidelines for member voting, as outlined in The Chapel's constitution, will be followed appropriately as the process unfolds. Any change made to The Chapel's constitution would require a two-thirds affirmative vote from the membership. When proposed changes have been approved by the Board of Trustees, the changes will then be presented to the members of the church 90 days prior to a scheduled vote.
Key components of these discussions will include, but will not be limited to:
- The role of a multicampus/multichurch structure and leadership of that structure
- The role of centralization of services and/or ministries across churches/campuses
- Planting and developing new bodies of believers (churches/campuses) within a structure
- The role of shared vision and mission statements across multiple churches/campuses in diverse communities
- Accountability and leadership within the church
- The role of biblical unity across multiple sites, campuses, and/or affiliated churches
The Chapel has been committed to:
reaching people and maturing the saints with a clear message of unhindered grace. Salvation is by grace alone, through faith in Jesus Christ. The church follows by responding in love, as a way to reflect the glory of God.
expository preaching, with in-person preaching and in-person gathering whenever possible.
reaching and blessing (as light and salt) our neighborhoods and local communities, by being involved with civil administrations, schools, non-profits, etc.
developing biblically-strong groups, guided by a strong theology, where fellowship, teaching, care, and outreach can happen.
global evangelization (light), while being increasingly sensitive to global suffering (salt).
We have a rich history of God's faithfulness to our church. As the Ministry Model Committee moves through these discussions about the next season of ministry for The Chapel and what that could look like, it will be important for them to consider the historical context that led us to where we are now.
1934 - 1962
Carl Burnham, Senior Pastor
The Chapel began at Five Points, moved to Brown & Vine, and ultimately landed at the Fir Hill location in 1955. Pastor Carl Burnham died unexpectedly in 1962.
1962 – 1982
Dave Burnham, Senior Pastor
Under Pastor Dave Burnham, The Chapel experienced strong growth, with a focus on home Bible studies. During this time, Camp Carl was purchased as an additional avenue for ministry in Northeast Ohio.
1983 – 2009
Knute Larson, Senior Pastor
Under Knute Larson's pastoral leadership, The Chapel initiated a strong church-planting movement, with a ‘plant to independent launch’ approach, and created a consortium interaction for equipping and licensing new pastors.
In 2000, in an effort to continue reaching more people, members of The Chapel voted to purchase land in Green, philosophically shifting to become One Church in Two Locations. This marked the beginning of our multicampus ministry model. The Green Campus opened in 2003 with no change to the reporting structure or church governance to support the new model. Finances, mission, vision, and staff leadership remained centralized.
Church attendance was stable with minimal growth through 2005, but a precipitous decline began in early 2006.
2007 - 2012
Paul Sartarelli, Senior Pastor
In 2007, when Pastor Larson announced his planned retirement, Pastor Paul Sartarelli joined him as co-Senior-Pastor for several years in a transitionary phase, until Knute's official retirement in 2009. During this time, there was a heavy emphasis on stylistic difference in worship service offerings and introduction of venues at Akron & Green (Classic, Contemporary, Blended, Traditions, Resonate, Selah).
In 2010, Valleyview Chapel formally joined The Chapel's network as the Wadsworth Campus, with Pastor Zac Derr transitioning away from his staff role at the Green Campus to become the Lead Pastor in Wadsworth. Ministries remained centralized, with leadership, ministry programming, and reporting structures for all campuses coming through the central Chapel office.
Attendance and offering continued to decline; in 2011, staff layoffs were necessary to realign operating expenditures.
2012 - 2014
Jim Mitchell, Interim Staff Leader
Pastor Sartarelli announced his resignation in 2012 and appointed Jim Mitchell as the Interim Staff Leader. During this time, ministry and staff reporting structures changed immediately, such that decisions happened at the campus level with local focus. Campus-specific goals and community engagement were developed locally. All budgets remained centrally-approved with local input.
Campuses gained a stronger local focus during this time, with a Central Leadership Team overseeing organizational management. A period of aggressive decentralization in leadership and management of ministry programming ensued to stabilize the campuses, with a focus on empowering local congregations. Support services like Building Maintenance and Communications were decentralized, while IT and Finance remained centralized.
2014 - 2021
Tim Armstrong, Senior Pastor
Pastor Tim Armstrong moved The Chapel's ministry model back toward a highly centralized approach. A central purpose, mission, and vision were reestablished, along with the central Saturate campaign. All church plants were to remain a part of the current multi-site structure. Additional ministries including Global Outreach, Care, College, and Membership, along with The Chapel's ministry hiring process, were centralized, and central strategic priorities were implemented.
2021 and Beyond
Zac Derr, Interim Senior Pastor
Today, The Chapel is in the process of reevaluating our ministry model and church governance. We are looking forward to a celebration of clarity surrounding who we will be as we step into the glorious future that the Lord has ordained for us.
The following key considerations will guide our conversations and our process:
- What will be the most biblical and most effective ministry model (organization, structure) through which The Chapel can pursue:
- our best understanding of the Great Commission (make disciples, reach the lost, and mature the saints)?
- our best understanding the Great Commandment (love God and love people)?
- stewardship of God’s resources: giving in the church and the finances entrusted by the church to church leadership?
- accountability for the ministry and its leaders: how, and at what level, does that take place?
- our best understanding of the Great Commission (make disciples, reach the lost, and mature the saints)?
- Does a multi-campus structure help us accomplish the above purposes? What strengths, weaknesses, advantages, and disadvantages exist within our current multi-campus model? What other advantages/disadvantages should we consider from other model(s) the Committee might recommend?
- How does church/campus planting fit into the new structure and organization of our churches/campuses, as related to the Saturate Commitment? (Of note: The Chapel is committed to using all existing Saturate funds for the express purpose for which they were given.)
- How does Camp Carl fit into the new structure and organization of our churches/campuses?
There is great power in prayer. We are calling on all of The Chapel to join us in praying for our next steps. Will you please lift up the Ministry Model Committee and The Chapel in these ways as we walk together in the way of Christ into the will of God:
- Pray for wisdom to discern the right next steps forward.
(James 1:2-8, James 3:13-18 Proverbs 2, Proverbs 8)
- Pray for courage, that this group might be bold enough to walk in obedience as the Lord reveals His will.
(Acts 4:29-31, Isaiah 41:10, Hebrews 13:5-6, 2 Timothy 1:7)
- Pray for endurance for the men and women on the Ministry Model Committee, as their discussions extend for weeks and months.
(Hebrews 4:13-16, Hebrews 12:1-11)
- Pray for the Lord's will to be done in and through The Chapel.
(Matthew 6:7-13, Matthew 26:36-39, Luke 1:37-39)
We are committed to seeing every person: believing in Jesus, belonging to family, becoming a disciple, and building His kingdom.